oral cancer screening at City Bridge Dental in Bristol

Mouth Cancer Action Month

As a Full Member of the BACD (British Academy of Cosmetic Dentists), Andrew Horne would like to share some important content from the BACD with you regarding Mouth Cancer Action Month.  If you have any concerns whatsoever, we encourage you to pop in and see us at City Bridge Dental Care.

Let’s raise awareness this November
This November, it’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

The campaign is striving to make a difference to people’s lives by raising awareness of mouth cancer and encouraging conversations around the topic.
Whether it’s helping to prevent the disease, catching it early or providing support to those who have undergone treatment, it’s pivotal that we all show our support to those who need it most.

Risk factors
It is believed that the two main causes of mouth cancer in the UK are drinking too much alcohol and smoking (the risks are higher with both combined).

Other risks factors include too much sun exposure to the lips, a weak immune system and infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus. A poor diet and poor oral health are other risk factors.

According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, however, “24% of mouth cancer cases have no associated significant risk factor”. This means that everyone should be able to recognise the symptoms to look out for.

Spotting it
According to the National Health Service (NHS), almost 8,300 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer annually in the UK. While mouth cancer is twice as common in men than women, more women are being diagnosed.

Knowledge about mouth cancer has improved over the years, but many cases are still not being caught early enough. Its prevalence has increased by 49% over the past decade.

Checking for mouth cancer can be done at home, taking no more than a minute. To check for anything unusual, such as lumps, bumps, red/white patches, and ulcers that have been there for over three weeks, the Oral Health Foundation recommends:

  • Feeling your face, head, and neck
  • Checking your tongue – both sides and underneath
  • Feeling the insides of your cheeks with your fingers
  • Tilting your head back to look at the roof of your mouth
  • Checking your lips – top and bottom, inside and out

Your dentist and dental hygienist can also spot the early signs of mouth cancer during a routine mouth examination. This is another important reason to attend frequent dental appointments.

Maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine is another way to help reduce the risk of developing the disease. This routine includes brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning interdentally at least once a day.

The effects on oral health
Naturally, the effects of mouth cancer on oral health can be severe. Post-treatment, patients may encounter issues with breathing, drinking/eating, speaking, and swallowing. When surgery is necessary, there may also be facial disfigurement.

The mental, emotional, and physical aftermath of treatment for mouth cancer can be profound. A strong, interdisciplinary support system is crucial for a patient’s rehabilitation. Dental professionals, alongside clinicians and counsellors, play an important role in improving the quality of a patient’s life during and after their diagnosis.

Supporting those who need it most
Coming to terms with a diagnosis of mouth cancer can be challenging, even debilitating.

The importance of catching the disease early, and recognising the warning signs, cannot be understated.

Whether it’s through educating loved ones, taking part in sponsored activities and/or fundraising, action is pivotal in the battle against mouth cancer.

We are here for you at any stage of your journey, and to help you catch the early warning signs. If you do have any concerns, make sure you get in touch with the team at City Bridge Dental Care.

We’re here for you and very happy to answer any questions you may have about your oral health. Please get in touch on 0117 9507949 if you’d like to know more.